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Festive season has Delhi flying

delhi Updated: Sep 18, 2009 00:25 IST
Sidhartha Roy
Sidhartha Roy
Hindustan Times
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Delhiites are flying again.

After suffering a lull caused by the downturn, airlines are offering deals, discounts and gifts to lure fliers back. And the results are showing—there has been a marked increase in bookings for the festive season.

“Travel bookings are seeing an increase big time,” said Keyur Joshi, COO of travel portal makemytrip.

“There is a lot of demand for the coming weekend thanks to Durga Puja and Dussehra holidays,” he said.

Domestic air traffic has seen a 26 per cent increase this August compared to last year. Industry insiders are looking at a brighter festive season this year compared to 2008.

While most Delhiites preferred to visit nearby travel destinations like Shimla, Naintal or Mussoorie last year to save some, they are being adventurous this year.

“Bookings for faraway destinations like Goa and Kerala, which require air travel, is much stronger this year. If airfare remains low, we expect a significant uptake in demand,” Joshi said.

Recently Jet Airways declared 50 per cent discount on select routes to attract customers after a strike by its pilots forced the airline to almost shut operations for about a week. Other airlines like Air India followed suit.

Though these discounts were for a limited time, many airlines are offering deals for the festive season.

Budget carrier SpiceJet has launched a new programme under which, passengers can receive benefits at selected hotels ranging from complimentary meals to discounts in total billing during the stay. Go Air is offering an assured gift of Rs. 3,000 for those booking tickets by September 20.

Air India said it is seeing a ten per cent increase in bookings for festive season even without special fares or deals.

“There is a marked increase in holiday traffic and Kerala is one of the hot destinations. Many government employees are also travelling to northeast thanks to special leave travel concession provided to them,” a spokesman said.

“Bookings for the festive period between October and November have gone up by 12 per cent, which augurs well for the industry,” said Rajji Rai of the he Travel Agents Association of India.

“The domestic aviation sector is set to recover in this quarter and the market will pick up. Usually we see a spike in demand after Navratra till mid January,” said Kapil Kaul, CEO, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.